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Excess entry, ambiguity seeking and competence: An experimental investigation

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Abstract

Excess entry refers to the high failure rate of new entrepreneurial ventures. Economic explanations suggest 'hit and run' entrants and risk-seeking behavior. A psychological explanation is that people (entrepreneurs) are overconfident in their abilities (Camerer & Lovallo, 1999). Characterizing entry decisions as ambiguous gambles, we alternatively suggest–following Heath and Tversky (1991)–that people seek ambiguity when the source of uncertainty is related to their competence. Overconfidence, as such, plays no role. This hypothesis is confirmed in an experimental study that also documents the phenomenon of reference group neglect. Finally, we emphasize the utility that people gain from engaging in activities that contribute to a sense of competence. This is an important force in economic activity that deserves more explicit attention.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Grieco & Robin Hogarth, 2004. "Excess entry, ambiguity seeking and competence: An experimental investigation," Economics Working Papers 778, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:778
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Grieco, 2007. "The entrepreneurial decision: Theories, determinants and constraints," KITeS Working Papers 200, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised May 2007.
    2. Enno Siemsen, 2008. "The Hidden Perils of Career Concerns in R& D Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 863-877, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competence; excess entry; entrepreneurship; overconfidence; Leex;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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